By the time your baby is around nine months old, they will have begun to take food on their high chair and should be capable of eating relatively solid foods. It is around this time that you should start exposing them to as many different tastes and textures as possible. By introducing your baby to different tastes, you are providing an interesting experience for them at mealtimes. This helps them to develop their own personal tastes and helps you to observe what they like and do not like. Once you have established this, feeding them will become a lot easier.
It is also around this time that you should start introducing lumps and varying textures to their meals. Lumps and tougher pieces of food will encourage your baby to chew, helping their teeth to cut and their muscles to strengthen. Since your baby’s vocal chords are in this region, chewing also helps them to develop.
Starting out, you can introduce different textures if you puree half of your baby’s food and mash the other half, leaving some lumps in the puree. This is a gentle way of introducing a new texture, which will be easy for your baby to adjust to as the taste is already familiar. You can also use other foods to add a new level of texture to your baby’s current food. Try mixing in mashed, grated or finely chopped pieces of other food, or you can indeed introduce them to something entirely new. You can serve them small cooked pieces of pasta in a smooth paste, chopped cooked vegetables in a cheese sauce, or fresh fruit chunks mixed into yoghurt, it’s up to you really.
It’s important to be ready for your baby to be unsure of what you have given them. They may spit it out or even refuse to try their food based on its taste, smell, look or texture, but you should persevere. Encourage them to approach food with a positive outlook, it will make everything easier!
You should always stay with your baby when they are eating because of the risk of choking.